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More UK job cuts at Vauxhall plants

Vauxhall’s production plants in Ellesmere Port and Luton will face another round of job cuts as parent General Motors looks to drastically cut costs by shedding one-fifth of its workforce in Europe.

Reports suggest more than 300 staff will be made redundant at Ellesmere Port, where Vauxhall makes Astra estate and Vectra, with up to 100 jobs axed at Luton, where it makes the Vivaro and Movano vans. Two years ago some 2,000 jobs were lost at Luton after Vauxhall pulled the plug on car production.

GM bosses warned of impending “alignment of engineering activities in Sweden, the UK and Germany”, with a continent-wide review of spending, which may lead to cutbacks in marketing, administration and a restructuring of its warehousing operations. It aims to cut 12,000 jobs and save £343m by 2006.

The company hasn’t made profit since 1999. GM Europe chairman, Fritz Henderson, says: “The lack of industry growth, the pricing environment and the competitiveness of the market do not allow us to grow fast enough to offset the cost base.”

He assures dealers: “These measures will not affect the integrity of any of our products nor our future product programs. These are improvements that will positively impact our long-term viability by reducing our structural costs and our attendant break even level.”

Barely 24 hours after the measures were announced, GM revealed third quarter losses of £72m from its global automotive division. That was offset by profits of £365m from its credit arm GMAC.

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